Make software development and testing a game? That’s what PNSQC folks were asked to consider for the SQA Challenge this year.
Gamification is the application of game design elements, like score-keeping and rewards, to non-game activities, such as encouraging healthy lifestyles, doing well in school, or retaining customers at a coffee shop. Gamification principles can also be applied to software development and testing too, to encourage the adoption of new tools and techniques, increase focus on customer satisfaction, and improve engineering productivity.
For this year’s SQAChallenge, how would you apply gamification principles to encourage collaboration, communication, teamwork, creativity, and self-organization on a development team?
“I think this was a trickier challenge than we’ve done in the past,” said Program Committee Chair Tim Farley. “You needed to think about how to use metrics to create the right incentives to improve soft skills, and we got some really creative answers,” said Program Committee member Shauna Gonzales.
Submissions were judged on how well the game created incentives for collaboration, communication, teamwork, creativity, and self-organization. Points were also given for measuring initial engagement and ongoing participation. “There were a lot of things to consider,” said Ms. Gonzales, “and we awarded higher scores to the entries that stayed focused on the requirements of the challenge.” In the end, team Dynamic Duo, comprised of Greg Snead and Melissa Chavez, submitted the winning entry, which they named Scrum ‘R Us.
The winning entry described incentivizing communications during daily standups for scrum teams. Points are awarded for attendance, engagement, and innovation, with a special bonus when all team members participate. “It’s a nice solution,” said Mr. Farley, “and it’s focused on something agile teams do every day. You don’t have to create opportunities to play the game. It’s just part of the normal day.”
Thanks to everyone that participated in this year’s challenge. We’re looking forward to seeing you at PNSQC 2017.